Learning, Planning, and Saving: Month Five of Pregnancy

Are you feeling a little better as you enter the fifth month of your pregnancy? It’s time to do some planning and thinking ahead.

The excitement of this month builds as your care provider schedules the fetal anomaly ultrasound.  While this appointment checks for proper development of your baby’s body, you may also choose to learn the gender of your child as this visit.

This is a great time to start planning for the birth and postpartum phase. There are so many options, and the first place to start may be with your care provider. His or her facility may offer birth classes, but this is not your only option. If you desire a drug- and intervention-free birth, you may want to consider Hypnobirthing, The Mongan Method(this is what I did), Hypnobabies or The Bradley Method. These classes are usually given by independently trained and accredited providers, or can be self-study.

Additionally, if you envision having a support person who is knowledgeable in the process of laboring without drugs, consider hiring a doula {http://www.dona.org/mothers/}. Doulas are a great resource for planning a birth, helping to prepare a birth plan, and supporting mom and baby during the postpartum phase. My midwife brought an assistant to my labor, and she acted in a doula capacity. I’ll never forget the support she provided during some of the most challenging moments.

Post-partum can be difficult for many new moms. I had a difficult recovery and remember how the pain and lack of sleep eroded my spirits rather quickly, despite my husband’s gallant attempts of support. Living far away from family, I wish I had known about the option of a postpartum doula. According to friends of mine, this service can be well worth the money. If you’re concerned about the cost of these services, check with your insurance company, and begin setting a little money aside with each pay check until the baby arrives. You’ll be so glad you did!

This is a smart time to speak with your employer about maternity leave (for you and for your partner). I was self-employed when I gave birth to my daughter, but my husband was employed by a hospital. He took four weeks’ leave(after only planning about 2.5), and I needed him every second of that four weeks! I could have used his help for two more.

It is easy to underestimate how much time your family will need to recuperate and get into a good rhythm. For this reason, begin planning now. I’m a strong believer in the minimum six-week post-partum period of rest for mothers, but many careers don’t offer this option. Many employers require women (and some fathers), to use their benefits first, before taking a medical leave. Clarify this policy and make sure you and your boss are on the same page. The United States does require most employers to grand FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), up to 12 weeks. This may be paid, but in many cases it is not. Again, check with your employer.

So, remember to consider how you want to labor (and taking a class or two), who will support you during and after, and maternity leave. Begin scheduling these important appointments and saving for services or unpaid leave to avoid last-minute stress later.


About the Author:

Krista is the founder of I Heart Pregnancy, a pregnancy magazine, and works to build community support and education through her work as the owner of Pregnancy Awareness Month.